Post by Megan, Information Services staff
According to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, most adults should get about 20 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per day. The Region of Waterloo also links physical activity to decreased health care costs and improved mental wellness. June is traditionally bike month, so what better way to get active than to bike?
Did you know that Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge all have awards for being Bicycle Friendly Communities? Cycling is a great way to get around the city while maintaining physical distance. That’s why Toronto is going to add 40 km of cycling infrastructure this summer and Montreal is adding closer to 200 km in the same effort. Bike lanes are being updated and added in Kitchener, and the Region has a Separated Cycling Lanes project.
Getting Road Ready
Our friends at King Street Cycles (in Uptown Waterloo) have shared some quick safety check tips. Watch the video to be sure your bike is ready for your first ride of the season.
Looking for more information? CAA has more step by step information for bicycle equipment checks. They recommend following your ABCs: A for Air, B for Brakes, Bar and Bell and C for Chain and Crank.
Rules and Safety
- Ontario Rules and Regulations: Cycling Skills (from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO)) is the bicycle version of the drivers’ handbook. This covers laws, signs, lanes, maneuvers and safety and there is an easy to understand version for kids. You can also check out this video from the City of Waterloo – Cycling safety: be seen, heard, and protected.
- Safety Courses: Normally, we would recommend cyclists take a CANBike course, but since they aren’t available now, you can take their free online quiz instead. The quiz covers rules and safety and takes about 45 minutes to complete.
- Helmets: According to Statistics Canada, only 38% of people in Ontario who ride a bike wear a helmet. The Bicycle Safety page from the MTO has a comprehensive list of global organizations that certify bike helmets for safety.
- Locks: Avoid having your bike stolen by always using a lock. MEC has some great information about choosing a lock.
- Bike Parking: Did you know there is Secure Bike Parking in Downtown Kitchener, including inside the Library’s parking garage? To gain access, you will need to complete the registration form and pay a $10 deposit. Unfortunately, new registrations will not be processed until facilities reopen and only the Charles and Benton cage is open at this time (for existing users on essential trips). Subscribe to the Bike Kitchener Newsletter to get updates.
When you’re ready to head out, check out our KW Indigenous Bike Tour. You can load the map on your mobile device or print a PDF. This is a brief overview of locations in Downtown Kitchener that show Indigenous history and culture – we invite you to do your own research or contact some of the suggested resources for more information. The route takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete by bike, or three hours by foot.
You can also explore the Bike Waterloo Region website to find local bike and trail maps, as well as road closure information, safety tips and more. Start with the Bike Kitchener Web Map or print the City of Waterloo’s Bike Map which has great bylaw information.
Make your trips longer and/or easier by combining biking with bussing. You can load your bike onto a GRT bus or bring it onboard an ION train. Intimidated? Don’t be. The GRT has a cycling help page that even has a video outlining how to use a bus’s bike rack.
- Wellness Wednesdays – Join library staff and guest experts for free, bi-weekly exercise programs.
- Walk It Off – Not a biker? Find inspiration to get active on your feet.
- Multilingual Information – The Region of Waterloo has cycling info and tips in several languages.
- CycleWR – Advocates for better, safer cycling in Waterloo Region.
KPL staff are monitoring the phones Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (with the exception of holidays). Please feel free to call us at 519-743-0271 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.